AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun

AMD's new Big Navi GPUs have some overclocking headroom inside of them, so let's see how the Radeon RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 go.

@anthony256
Published Mon, Nov 23 2020 9:21 PM CST

Introduction + OC Settings

I promised a deeper look at overclocking on Big Navi when I was writing the Radeon RX 6800 XT review and Radeon RX 6800 review -- so here we are. Instead of splitting them up, I combined the overclocking results from both cards into a single article.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 447 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 51 IMAGES

AMD has a decent amount of OC headroom in both its Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6800 reference graphics cards, so I'm actually excited to see what AIB board partners can do with improved cooling solutions -- and maybe some more OC headroom on top.

For the purposes of this article, I'm doing a few things here: I'm running the Radeon RX 6800 XT like normal, then I've enabled RAGE mode (one-click overclocking) and then I've got a manual OC on the card that pushes it has hard as it could go (to within 10MHz or so).

On the Radeon RX 6800 side of things, I run that card as normal and then with a manual OC -- there is no RAGE mode on the regular Radeon RX 6800. Once the Radeon RX 6900 XT is here, I will also do an article on that covering the performance and I will also do a separate article covering SAM performance (Smart Access Memory) on the Ryzen 9 5900X processor.

Note: This is on my personal samples from AMD, your results will always vary with overclocking. This is more of an 'adventures with that bearded nerd Anthony' than 'buy this card based on my personal overclocking experience, from a card sampled by AMD to a reviewer'.

OC Settings on Radeon RX 6800 XT

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 445 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 444 | TweakTown.com

For the purposes of the Radeon RX 6800 XT, I cranked up the GPU as hard as it would go -- finding it would sit comfortably 2350-2400MHz or so, depending on the situation. This is the manual OC, while the RAGE mode one-click overclock sees the Radeon RX 6800 XT sitting at around the same GPU clocks (2300-2365MHz) or so.

OC Settings on Radeon RX 6800

Now this is just as much fun, but with no RAGE mode -- the Radeon RX 6800 overclocked.

I was able to smash in 107% max frequency, bringing the GPU to around 2350MHz or so in gaming loads, with the GPU running at 59C and GPU hot spot @ 74C. The fans were at 100% during this testing.

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Everything You Need to Know About RDNA 2

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 906 | TweakTown.com

AMD's new RDNA 2 architecture has more changes than any previous-gen GPU architecture I can remember from AMD (and even ATi) in the last 10+ years.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 908 | TweakTown.comAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 910 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 913 | TweakTown.comAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 912 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 911 | TweakTown.com

There's a lot to go over here, but we're looking at an enhanced compute unit, new visual pipeline featuring Ray Accelerators, and the all-new (and very exciting) Infinity Cache (which I'll go into on the next page. We're looking at a huge 1.54x higher performance-per-watt and 1.3x higher frequency at the same per-CU power -- impressive stuff, AMD.

Ray Accelerators

One of the largest new introductions in the new RDNA 2 architecture is the high-performance ray tracing acceleration architecture known as the Ray Accelerator. AMD doesn't have NVIDIA-beating ray tracing performance, but it's here in RDNA 2.

Each Ray Accelerator is capable of calculating up to 4 ray / box intersections, and 1 ray / triangle intersection every clock. This means the RDNA 2-based Ray Accelerators can efficiently calculate the intersections of the rays with the scene geometry as represented in a Bounding Volume Hierarchy, sorts them, and returns the information to the shaders for further scene traversal or result shading.

HDMI 2.1

This is another big deal -- HDMI 2.1 connectivity.

HDMI 2.1 ushers in the worlds of 4K 120Hz and 8K 60Hz through a single HDMI 2.1 cable to your flashy new TV or gaming monitor. Personally I own a new CX series LG OLED TV with HDMI 2.1 that drives its 4K 120Hz, so plugging my gaming PC into my TV can only be done a single way if I want 4K 120Hz -- which I kinda do.

The introduction of HDMI 2.1 on graphics cards began with NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 30 series, and continues with AMD's new Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards. All 3 of the new Radeon RX 6000 series cards -- the Radeon RX 6900 XT (coming soon), the Radeon RX 6800 XT (review here) and Radeon RX 6800 (this review) all have HDMI 2.1 output.

Board Design

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 923 | TweakTown.com

Another great thing AMD did with the Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6800 graphics cards is the board design, with the company making all 3 of the cards at a standard ~10.5 inches or so. The card is also max 2.5-slot for reference boards, which means it'll slot into virtually any PC that is capable of taking a regular-sized card.

What Is Infinity Cache?

Now this is where things get really interesting -- Infinity Cache, which provides some kick ass memory bandwidth even with it smaller 256-bit memory bus and slower GDDR6 memory.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 909 | TweakTown.com

NVIDIA might have a superior 320-bit memory bus, faster GDDR6X -- but it has less VRAM (10GB versus 16GB) and the Radeon RX 6800 XT still kicks ass against the GeForce RTX 3080 in all resolutions and situations. But in the right situation -- like when paired with a Zen 3 processor, like I've done preliminary with the Ryzen 9 5900X -- you can get in excess of 10% more performance when you add SAM (Smart Access Memory) into the equation.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 920 | TweakTown.com

If you've got the right hardware -- a new RDNA 2-based Radeon RX 6800 XT for example, with a Zen 3-based Ryzen 5000 series -- like the Ryzen 9 5900X that I got in the days leading into the review. I will have some numbers on those tomorrow, but I needed to get these reviews out first.

The SAM results are as good as you see in these charts, and in some cases better -- it's an impressive thing to see, and I truly can't wait to see more from Smart Access Memory technology.

RAGE Mode: One Click Overclocking

AMD is introducing something with the new RDNA 2-based Radeon RX 6800 XT and its 'RAGE mode', a one-click overclocking option in the Radeon Adrenalin software. I've enabled this for the review, as I've ran the RX 6800 XT at stock, once again with RAGE mode enabled, and again with manual OC tweaking.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 918 | TweakTown.com

Test System Specs

Latest upgrade:

Sabrent sent over their huge Rocket Q 8TB NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD, which will be my new Games install SSD inside of my main test bed.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 1166 | TweakTown.com

I've got a new upgrade inside of my GPU test bed before my change to a next-gen test bed, where I will be preparing for NVIDIA's next-gen Ampere graphics cards and AMD's next-gen RDNA 2 graphics cards.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 1162 | TweakTown.com

Sabrent helped out with some new storage for my GPU test beds, sending over a slew of crazy-fast Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSDs. I've got this installed into my GPU test bed as the new Games Storage drive, since games are so damn big now. Thanks to Sabrent, I've got 2TB of super-fast M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD storage now.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 1165 | TweakTown.com

Anthony's GPU Test System Specifications

I've recently upgraded my GPU test bed -- at least for now, until AMD's new Ryzen 9 5950X processor is unleashed then the final update for 2020 will happen and we'll be all good for RDNA 2 and future Ampere GPU releases. You can read my article here: TweakTown GPU Test Bed Upgrade for 2021, But Then Zen 3 Was Announced.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 201 | TweakTown.comAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 222 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 211 | TweakTown.comAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 224 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - Synthetic

3DMark Fire Strike

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 4000 | TweakTown.com

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 101 | TweakTown.comAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 102 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 103 | TweakTown.com

3DMark TimeSpy

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 104 | TweakTown.comAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 105 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 1080p

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 4006 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 304 | TweakTown.comAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 305 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 114 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 4013 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 303 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 108 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 4002 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 302 | TweakTown.comAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 301 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 111 | TweakTown.com

1080p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

Shadow of War on the Radeon RX 6800 is hitting 158FPS average, just 1FPS behind the Radeon RX 6800 XT -- and beating the RTX 3080, RTX 3070, TITAN RTX, and everything else. Not bad for $579, eh?

In Metro Exodus the performance drops a bit, down to 76FPS versus 88FPS on the RX 6800 XT -- but still it equals the RTX 2080 Ti with 76FPS. Damn good results here in a game like Metro Exodus, meanwhile Shadow of the Tomb Raider cranks along with 230FPS average -- 23FPS behind the RX 6800 XT, but 32FPS ahead of the 198FPS on the RTX 2080 Ti.

A huge leap in performance over the Radeon RX 5700 XT in all games at 1080p by a long shot, too.

Benchmarks - 1440p

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 113 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 107 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 110 | TweakTown.com

1440p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

The winning continues for the Radeon RX 6800 even at 2560 x 1440, with 131FPS average meaning we have superior performance to the RTX 3070 and RTX 2080 Ti in Shadow of War.

Up next we have the Radeon RX 6800 beating the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 3070 in a tough game like Metro Exodus at 1440p, with 65FPS average -- while Shadow of the Tomb Raider cranks along at 167FPS average, just 4FPS shy of the RTX 3080 and punching 30FPS+ above the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 3070.

Great results all-round from the Radeon RX 6800 at 1440p.

Benchmarks - 4K

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 112 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 106 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 109 | TweakTown.com

4K Benchmark Performance Thoughts

The Radeon RX 6800 falls behind a little at 4K in Shadow of War, but not by too much -- it still beats the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 3070 at 4K without breaking a sweat with 86FPS average.

There's a sharper drop in Metro Exodus at 4K on the Radeon RX 6800, 44FPS average versus 51FPS on the RX 6800 XT -- but it equals (and beats) the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 3070 graphics cards. Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the other hand screams along where it's just 1FPS behind the RTX 3080, with the RX 6800 hitting 96FPS average.

That kicks the ass of the RTX 2080 Ti with 75FPS (21FPS faster on the RX 6800) and exactly 100% faster than the 48FPS on the RX 5700 XT. Even the slowest Big Navi card kicks ass at 4K.

Power Consumption & Temps

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 787 | TweakTown.com

When overclocked, the Radeon RX 6800 bumps up the power consumption by 20W over stock -- while the RX 6800 XT in RAGE mode uses 20W more, too. But in the manual OC mode with everything cranked up to maximum, you can get nearly another 100W flowing through the Radeon RX 6800 XT.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 790 | TweakTown.com

When it comes to temperatures, the Radeon 6800 with the fans maxed out is at just 59C -- the RX 6800 XT with its fans maxed out (and overclocked) runs at 60C while the Radeon RX 6800 XT on RAGE mode runs at 69C.

OC Results + Final Thoughts

Overall there is some great performance gains to be had from overclocking both the Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6800 gaphics cards. I'm interested to see how custom solutions from the likes of MSI, SAPPHIRE, XFX, PowerColor, and others do -- many of these have custom Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6800 cards on their way to me now.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 448 | TweakTown.com

Once the dust has settled, we can get into the custom Radeon RX 6800 series reviews and see how high that Navi 21 GPU can go when it has some improved cooling on it. We might see some better overclockers than the seriously impressive reference Big Navi cards that AMD has with the Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6800.

I've got a handful of custom Radeon RX 6800 XT cards on the way, and custom Radeon RX 6800 after that -- so I'm now very interested to see if we push a comfortable and constant 2500MHz out of Big Navi. Another interesting thing to take for a spin is going to be the Radeon RX 6900 XT which comes out on December 8.

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 510 | TweakTown.comAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 552 | TweakTown.com
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 551 | TweakTown.comAMD Radeon RX 6800 XT + RX 6800 Overclocking: Big Navi, Big OC Fun 509 | TweakTown.com

We will hopefully have some custom Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card reviews on November 25 if my samples arrive on time. If not it will be very soon after! Stay tuned to TweakTown!

Buy at Amazon

ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming ATX Motherboard

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$429.00$428.54$339.67
* Prices last scanned on 1/15/2021 at 1:25 am CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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